. We sat in on the house church, and two of our new friends from the Dominican Republic, Kelda and Manuel, were kind enough to translate for us. Jess and I shared our testimonies, and Jess lead a worship song in English that Noe played guitar for. Kevin, a guy we met at the house church, found out I like footy, and invited me to play one day in an outdoor sports area near his house. This outdoor sports area had basketball courts, racket ball courts, and football "courts." They are free to use and anyone can go for a pick-up game of whatever. I was ecstatic to be able to play some footy in Barcelona of all places!! So Kevin and I waited on the benches til one of the current two teams got scored on and we could sub in. We joined up with three guys we didn’t know and formed a team of five. Kevin told me almost everyone that was playing was from Brazil. Yikes! I was once again the only blonde guy out there. The Brazilian's had some amazing moves! Kevin and I held our own though and each scored a goal. Noe and Victor (Kevin’s uncle-in-law) joined us later when we played and won against another team. So much fun! I was only nutmegged (the ball goes between your legs and you look like an idiot) once. I also got to use the Spanish phrase Kevin taught me when someone asked me where I was from: “Yo soy de Canada.”
90 percent of travellers we have met who have been to Barcelona have either had something stolen, or know someone who has. It is the pick-pocket capital of Europe. Jess and I are always pretty careful with our belongings. Jess keeps everything in her zip-up purse, and I keep only what I need in my zip-up pants pockets, so we were doing pretty well right off the bat
. But our best defence against those tricky pick-pockets is Jess' über preparedness. Our reading matter for the bus ride from Valencia to Barcelona was all about the different tactics that people use to try and steal your stuff. I felt like we were coaches going over footage, preparing for a big game or something. But it did pay off. Luckily, most pick-pockets are opportunists, meaning that they usually only try to take your stuff if it looks really easy to do so. If you are aware of the people around you, and don't put stuff in a really easy place for someone to take it, you will most likely have no problems. One of the first few days we were in Barcelona, we got to put our knowledge from the reading material into action. When we came up from a metro station near Barcelona Stadium, four very tall guys all with some sort of Barcelona F.C. gear on them came up to me. One of the guys asked me very directly “do you speak English?” I looked up and answered “yes a little.” As soon as I answered, the other three guys who had been standing behind the speaker, started to come closer to me on all sides. I backed up a bit and put one hand on my front zip pocket to make sure no hand was trying to get in there. Jessica, who was standing by a bench nearby, gave one of the guys a very intent watchful eye and he became aware she was keeping an eye on him. When they realized they were not going to get anything out of us, the speaker stopped his conversation with me about where the stadium was, and they all moved on very quickly. It is too bad such a beautiful place like Barcelona has such bad problem with pick-pocketing.
Some of you might be wondering “when is he going to get to the Gaudi stuff?” Well, I was actually leaving that out on purpose because Jessica gets the privilege of writing about it in part two. If we started with Gaudi, the rest would seem less interesting. So stay tuned for the last part of our trip. Also, after over five months of travelling, the total crib score is neck-in-neck. Jessica leads 35-34. Soon we will have a trip winner, but we can’t declare a winner yet…
We have arrived in Barcelona, our last stop of the trip. Last but definitely not least. In Barcelona, we had the privilege of staying with one last couch surf host. They were a couple from El Salvador named Noe and Cecilia. Originally we were going to stay with two hosts in Barcelona so that neither one would not get sick of us. But things went so well with Noe and Cecilia, and we didn't hear from our other hosts, that we stayed with them the whole time. We had a great time with them! Noe likes to use couch surfing as a way to practise his English, so he doesn’t take anyone who speaks fluent Spanish. There were quite a few times that we needed to use Google Translate to communicate some simple things, but that just added to the fun. Noe and Cecilia are quite involved with their church in Barcelona. They host a small group at their house once a week, help out with young adults, and then see most of the same people in the big Sunday morning services. Jess and I welcomed the chance to see how this particular church in Spain does things